Emergency. Despite the removal of the Terminal Air Forecast (TAF) service at Smithton Aerodrome, the airport can still accommodate emergency flights as needed.
In a letter penned to the state government earlier this year, Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam expressed the council’s concerns “in relation to the Smithton Airport being in jeopardy of losing its use as an air ambulance service . . . given that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has removed the [TAF] service”.
Cr Quilliam asked if the state government “intends to allow for the ongoing day and night flight operations service, to allow emergency situations to be attended to with the Air Ambulance into the future into the Smithton site”.
In responding, Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said he was aware that the federal government had undertaken an assessment of the locations of its TAF services and deemed Smithton Airport one of a number of airports across the country that was infrequently used.
However in reassuring the council, Mr Ferguson said: “Please be assured that this will not impact air ambulance services provided at Smithton Airport.
“The contractor providing planes and pilots on behalf of Ambulance Tasmania utilises non-directional beacon and GPS navigational aids.
“This means planes will continue to land at Smithton Airport for all emergency cases (unless local weather conditions dictate otherwise) by utilising these systems along with forecasts from other airfields in the region, such as Wynyard.”